Projet Now

Waulsort, Namur province
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About the Project…

Project NOW is a farm cooperative with social objectives. It was created by 10 people who were joined by 40 « villagers » from the municipality. The aim is to make Waulsort attractive for the tourists again, to exploit its potential in order to create jobs, support local producers and at the same time recreate proximity services. On an ecological level, apart from the fact that all products are local, organic and seasonal, nothing is disposable in the Villa 1900, except toilet paper… We favor ecological and raw material. All clothes and home textiles are second hand to not support unethical and non-environmental suppliers. The garden is not chemically treated and includes a few square of grass. Native species are fostered: there are a lot of birds, fed during the winter. A pond helps to support biodiversity and hens to reduce waste. In the store, we aim at “zero waste”: we buy a lot of bulk products and favor re-usable packaging. Our sustainable management tries to embed all aspects of a sustainable society: cooperative management, participatory democracy using collective intelligence, social justice and integrating differences (insertion of the long-term unemployed, collaboration with psychiatrized persons, intercultural and intergenerational relations), attention to North –South and present-future balance, through the farm cooperative to favor local exchanges and local resilience (alternative currency, SEL), individual development, promotion of permaculture and other agroecology types, promotion of soft mobility, reflection on other business and teaching models…

Volunteer’s tasks

To be defined together depending on time and respective skills.

For 2016, the mains tasks will be:

- helping in the restaurant and doing the dishes (evenings/week-ends)

- building work: stripping down, sanding, painting, bricking

- Garden maintenance

-Creation of a little garden of medicinal herbs like in the Middle

-Age - Plantation and « seeding » of the pond

- Workshops, participation to visits and activities

- Data-input work for the library and bookkeeping

- Harvesting fruits or wild plants

- Promotional actions for the Villa 1900

- Maybe (but we will discuss this in the next general meeting) participation to the implementation of an online sales system.

- Work on the internet and social networks.

- Establishment and delivery of a local newspaper

- Creation of handcrafts

- Delivery in the village

- Bike-taxi for some events

- Cycling ice-cream delivery

- On Monday, receipt of the goods

- Repairing for the free repairing workshop (Repair café) - Eventually: cooking

Volunteer’s profile

To summarize briefly, according with our cooperative’s rules and in order to avoid any disappointment on the spot:

Whoever you are you are welcome, and we welcome you with total trust and we expect reciprocity (you have access to our secrets, all the assets of our cooperative; you will have a key to get in and out like at home). We are working with food and external clients: our labor regulation (which was commonly developed) provides for highest hygiene standards (cleanliness, hair, deodorizers, clothes, hand wash…): we apply these principles to ourselves. We practice Agapè: a kind of universal caring (for example, we don’t kill insects, except if it is impossible to do otherwise: we put them out, we torture none of them, and we try, of course, to stay positive with everybody). Obviously, we want people with ecological awareness and good habits about it or who are ready to improve theirs and respect existing ones. Smoking is strictly forbidden in the Villa (it is the only immediate exclusion clause and it is available for everyone; zero tolerance). If you are a smoker, there is an ashtray and a chair for this purpose near the Villa entrance. We are working wearing 1900’s traditional clothes. When you are in touch with customers, we want you to make some efforts (we can provide you needed clothes)

What we expect from you is to give us a hand during your stay (we will discuss together what you can do and want to do) but you will also have leisure time to study, visit, meet people, observe nature, and have fun. Our working language is French, but a part of the team speaks English and Dutch. A third of customers is Dutch-speaking. 

Practical information

 Accommodation

Housing in Villa 1900’s « Pink Room » with a sink (hot and cold water), a desk, a closet (the bathroom is under work, it will be ready for the second semester) Stay in an exceptional surrounding, in the middle of unspoilt nature with rich biodiversity and in an area with a huge historical legacy. We have a washer and a drier that you could use with no hesitation. 

 Food

You will be fed during your stay, with the team. You shouldn’t be accustomed to eat at regular mealtimes ;-) If you are vegetarian, there is no problem. We have difficulty with “vegan” diet, but it can be possible (In this case, you have things to teach to us, we have special goods here, but no soya for example, as a matter of principle)

 Leisures

o Numerous meetings; contacts with a large business, social, and transitional network.

o Visits and tests a tour partners producers for those interested. (Our first volunteer visited organic chicken/pork farm, participated to several guided tours, made some cheese, worked with our forest ranger, discussed with a permaculture farmer, helped our greengrocer).

o Professional reward possible

o Option to follow Namur’s university courses.

o A bus and electric bikes down the street. 

o Unlimited access to our library.